I probably should have saved this post for St. Patrick’s Day since I am going to talk about the Irish beer brand associated with the holiday, but I couldn’t wait (and am in between projects right now). Normally when I think of Guinness, I think of the harp logo that is used today. So naturally my curiosity got the better of me when I came across this pair of Guinness glasses with a toucan balancing a pint on its nose.
I had to have them and figure out the back story with the bird logo. Being a Marketing PhD student, these glasses intrigue me on two of my passions, marketing and vintage. So I set out to learn about the toucan “spokes-animal” for Guinness.
This blog has the best write-up I could find about the toucan mascot for Guinness. According to the author, the Guinness Toucan was as popular and beloved as the Budweiser Clydesdales throughout the mid-century. Beer companies started using animal mascots in the late 30’s as a way to advertise the purported health benefits of beer and avoid actually marketing the beverage as only beer. While Guinness used multiple animals in its advertising, the toucan was the most popular.
Then in the 1980’s Guinness moved to a new advertising agency and stopped using animal mascots. Thanks to estate sales, antique malls, and the internet, the Guinness toucan has not gone the way of the dodo bird and can still be found on pint glasses in barware collections like mine.
I haven’t been able to find other ones with the orange and red silhouettes like mine, so I don’t know if these are late models or for some reason, rare. Never the less, I think they add whimsy and fun to my growing bar collection and would be great for Guinness beer floats.